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JFC presses Congress action on air transport reforms

By: Alden M. Monzon – @inquirerdotnet
Philippine Daily Inquirer / 02:13 AM March 14, 2023


The Joint Foreign Chambers of the Philippines (JFC) on Monday urged lawmakers once more to pass legislation that will reform the country’s air transport sector.

The JFC, a coalition of foreign business chambers, voiced its support for the recommendations contained in Senate Committee Report No. 39, which tackled the damaging air traffic management system glitch at Ninoy Aquino International Airport (Naia) last January.

“The incident at the Naia, and the disruption it caused to air transportation throughout the country, is a strong reminder of the need to pass laws to institute structural reforms in the air transport sector,” the JFC said in a statement.

“The members of the JFC commend the Senate Committee on Public Services’ timely issuance of the report under the chairmanship of Senator Grace Poe and its recommendation of legislation that will align the Philippines with international standards of transportation safety and security,” it added.

Public hearings

The JFC comprises the American, Australian-New Zealand, Canadian, European, Japanese, Korean business chambers in the Philippines, as well as the Philippine Association of Multinational Companies Regional Headquarters Inc.

The committee report recommended, among others, the amendment of the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines charter to strengthen it as an agency and to decouple its conflicting functions as regulator, operator and investigator.

It also pushed for the passage of bills creating the Philippine Transportation Safety Board (PTSB) and the Philippine Airports Authority to allow for more efficiency and transparency in the sector.

JFC said needed measures had already been filed both at the Senate and the House of Representatives, with a bill creating the PTSB already sponsored for plenary approval by Senator Poe last March 7.

Oversight body

“We urge relevant committees in both chambers to conduct public hearings on the bills pending at the committee level and for the Senate to commence deliberation on Senate Bill No. 1121 at the soonest possible time,” the JFC said.

To recall, a proposed law creating the PTSB hurdled both legislative chambers but was thumbed down by President Marcos last year, with former Press Secretary Trixie Cruz-Angeles citing that the duties intended for the planned oversight body are already being performed by other government agencies.

The former press secretary had said back then that it will only lead to issues, including functional duplication and confusion, among others. INQ